Ontario ministry searches Volkswagen offices in emissions scandal

The province has searched Volkswagen's Canadian offices in relation to the multi-billion dollar emissions scandal that rocked the auto company two years ago.

Volkswagen was charged under Ontario's Environmental Protection Act last week

Volkswagen says it is co-operating with the Ontario government's investigation. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

The Ontario government executed a search warrant at the Volkswagen Canada offices on Tuesday as part of its investigation into the emissions scandal that rocked the company two years ago.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change charged Volkswagen AG with one count under the province's Environmental Protection Act last week.

It alleges the German company did not comply with Ontario emission standards. The allegations have not been proven in court.

The government says the search warrant was part of the its continuing investigation.

The company says it is co-operating with the Ontario government and it would not be appropriate to comment further.

Earlier this year, Quebec and Ontario courts approved a settlement agreement with members of a Canadian class-action lawsuit who bought or leased certain Volkswagen or Audi vehicles with diesel engines caught up in the emissions cheating scandal.

It has been more than a year since Volkswagen agreed to pay more than $20 billion to settle criminal charges and civil claims related to the company's sale of nearly 600,000 cars with "defeat devices" designed to beat U.S. emissions tests.

Volkswagen pleaded guilty in the U.S. after software was found in certain diesel vehicles that made it appear as though the cars were producing fewer emissions than they really were.

In fact, under normal conditions, the cars emitted 35 times Canada's legal limit on nitrogen oxides, which have adverse effects on human health and contribute to climate change.

About 105,000 of the rigged vehicles were sold in Canada and Volkswagen has a court-certified settlement program underway to buy back the cars and compensate Canadians who owned or leased them.